Mueller claims evidence shared with Russian firm’s defense leaked to ‘discredit investigation’

Saul Bowman
January 31, 2019

A court filing by Mueller's office said more than 1,000 files that it shared confidentially with attorneys for indicted Russian hackers later appeared to have been uploaded to a filesharing site and promoted by a Twitter account. It does not say how the special counsel thinks the material made its way online but notes that there is no evidence the special counsel or any government servers were hacked.

Wednesday's filing argued that handing sensitive information over to the Concord's defense team would be a mistake because the information would likely be misused.

Mueller alleges that the account that posted the discovery to the online portal can be linked back to Russian Federation.

A lawyer for Concord did not immediately comment.

The special counsel also describes technical details that were scraped from the publicized discovery.

The published links included 'file folders with names and folder structures that are unique to the names and structures of materials (including tracking numbers assigned by the Special Counsel's Office) produced by the government in discovery'. Notably, the company's lawyer argued that it was unlikely that the manner in which Mueller "collected a nude selfie" could jeopardize USA national security.

The Mueller filing comes amid an ongoing discovery dispute in the case.

The Department of Justice filed a court document Wednesday about the matter.

Concord has argued the information sharing is needed to defend themselves in the case.

Namely, on October 22 a year ago, a Twitter account @HackingRedstone claimed to have gained "access to the Special Counsel Mueller's probe database as we hacked Russian server with info from the Russian troll case Concord LLC v. Mueller", offering "all the files Mueller had about the IRA and Russian collusion". Concord's lawyers argued that sharing those materials with Prigozhin - known in Russian Federation as "Putin's Chief" for the facilities services he provides to the Kremlin - and others outside the legal team is necessary for their defense in the case.

Mueller disclosed the leak in a filing as part of his prosecution of Concord Management and Consulting, a Russian company that allegedly funded hacking operations by Russia's notorious Internet Research Agency (IRA). A vendor working for the defense team in the case, which also has access to the material, said they did not have indications of any unauthorized access on their end either, the filing says. "We are still trying to track that down when this indictment came out today and when Josh and Casey started talking publicly about how they had been targeted and how they had been shopped this stuff, that's the first we heard we might have been targeted in this way as well".

The Russian firm, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, is being prosecuted in Mueller's investigation of U.S. allegations that Moscow meddled in 2016 to undermine the American democratic process and help then-Republican candidate Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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